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Undergraduate students of English and other languages, linguistics, history
Tore Janson was Professor of Oriental and African Languages at the University of Göteborg until his retirement in 2000. He was previously Professor of Latin at the same university and is a world expert on its history. He is the author of the international bestsellers Speak: A Short History of Languages (OUP 2002; paperback 2003) and The Natural History of Latin (OUP 2004, paperback 2005).
"A highly readable introduction to the history of languages intended for students and general readers with an interest in history, anthropology, politics and linguistics ... In sum, this textbook reinforces the idea that the study of language is linked to the study of history and society. It is appropriate for an introductory course in historical linguistics (though supplemental readings in historical phonology and morphology would need to be included in the syllabus), and it will give the student a solid overview of how societal changes effect language, as well as spark interest in a wide variety of topics such as language policy, language contact and language shift." - Jason P. Doroga, Linguist List
List of Maps
List of Figures
List of Tables
Part I: Before History
1: Unwritten Languages
2: The Large Language Groups
Part II: The Basis of History
3: History and Writing
4: Hieroglyphs and Egyptian
5: Chinese - The Oldest Survivor
Part III: Language Expansions
6: Greek - Conquest and Culture
7: Latin - Conquest and Order
8: Arabic - Conquest and Religion
Part IV: Languages and Nations
9: Did Dante Write in Italian?
10: From Germanic to Modern English
11: The Era of National Languages
Part V: Europe and the World
12: Languages of Europe and of the World
13: How Languages are Born - or Made
14: How Languages Disappear
Part VI: Recent Past, Present, Future
15: The Heyday of English
16: Chinese and English in China
17: And Then?
Guidelines for Answers to Questions